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South African NRI granted leave to fight charges

Schabir Shaik has been granted leave by South African court to appeal against his corruption conviction.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2005 19:54 IST

Indian-origin businessman Schabir Shaik has been granted leave by South Africa's apex court to appeal against his corruption conviction.

The Supreme Court of Appeal allowed the leave to appeal after Durban High Court refused him permission to appeal against his finding that there was a "generally corrupt relationship" with former Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Shaik had been sentenced to 15 years each on two counts of corruption and three years for fraud.

Shaik's brother Mo Shaik said in an interview the family welcomed the Supreme Court's decision.

"We are confident that another court will come to a different finding," he said.

He said the appeal hearing is expected to start in August or September next year.

"We will have to appoint our lawyers and advocates to prepare for the appeal hearing."

Meanwhile, legal experts say if Durban businessman Shaik wins his appeal against fraud and corruption charges it would have a major bearing on the corruption trial of Zuma.

Zuma faces the same charges that Shaik was found guilty of.

"If there is no evidence different to those directed against Shaik and if he wins the appeal, then this could have a major influence on Zuma's trial," said David Unterhlater of the University of the Witwatersrand.

First Published: Nov 16, 2005 00:00 IST